Professor Jess B. Bessinger, Jr. reads the general prologue and the concluding retraction of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.” One of the foremost experts on early English poetry, Bessinger offers a masterful recitation of this seminal work of literature, all in the original Middle English. The lyrical quality of Chaucer’s masterpiece is best appreciated when read aloud by someone fluent in the archaic form of English in which it was written. While most students have read at least one of these tales in a High School English class, those often belabored readings, replete with many mispronunciations and frequent interruptions, as various footnotes are investigated, often remove much of the beauty, and mask the humor, that is the hallmark of the original poem. It is therefore a marvelous opportunity to have all the various characters of the book so vividly brought to life by this recording.
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November 9, 2018 Subject:
Sounds great! This can be downloaded, by the way. In Firefox, click Tools, Page Info, Media, then scroll through till you see VIDEO. Save it to your computer.
October 26, 2018 Subject:
Excellent, but a little fast...
I'm inexperienced with Middle English, so I had a bit of trouble with the speed. That said, the enthusiasm, pronunciation, and intonation was not only very well-done from what I could tell, it was very enjoyable to listen to. Thank you for making this available to the general public! I only wish it were available for download. I'd like to listen away from the computer/internet, with the Middle English text in-hand.
October 14, 2018 Subject:
Why isn’t this available for download?
Heading says it all. I wish this were available for download. A superb reading.
August 14, 2015 Subject:
A bit fast, but good
The pronunciation and stress is impeccable, better than an recording I've heard. But, I feel he rushes and rolls sentences off his tongue too quickly. Otherwise, I'm enjoying listening to it.
September 4, 2014 Subject:
I did not have intentions on learning how to pronounce anything. I just needed help with reading the general prologue because I just couldn't on my own. I made a profile just to say what a tremendous help this audio was in my understanding and, as an addition, my pronunciation. I saw 49 minutes and groaned, but they went quickly. Thanks for it being free in the first place!
June 4, 2011 Subject:
This recording captures the Host's voice in a way that satisfies many of the scholarly questions surrounding the existence of sarcasm, satire, and ignorance in the role of the Host.
The pronunciation of Middle English in this recording is also very well done. I highly recommend this recording for anyone desiring to improve their Middle English skills.